Berger posts bond; released from jail

Deputies arrested Berger at his home.
Deputies arrested Berger at his home.
Brian Berger (Source: New Hanover County Sheriff's Office)
Brian Berger (Source: New Hanover County Sheriff's Office)
New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger
New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – According to authorites, Commissioner Brian Berger posted his $25,000 bond Friday night and was released from the New Hanover County Detention Facility. Deputies with the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office took Commissioner Brian Berger into custody Friday morning around 11:00.

Berger was expected to be in court again Friday morning at 9:30 after his case was continued earlier this month, but he never showed up.

As of 10:00 a.m., Berger was no where to be found.  His ex-girlfriend, however, was there waiting to testify against the commissioner.

Court was released at 10:45 a.m. and a warrant was issued for Berger's arrest.

Deputies were seen at Berger's home Friday morning, knocking on his door.  They entered the commissioners' house around 11:00 a.m. Deputies said Berger was remorseful and didn't give them any problems when they went into his house.

According to Sgt. Jerry Brewer, Berger willingly contacted the sheriff's office from his home after deputies were already on the way.  According to Brewer, Berger said, "Thank you" when the commissioner came out of his home.

Deputies took Berger to court Friday morning just before 11:30 a.m.  The judge called everyone back in at that time.

Judge Shelly Holt gave Berger a secured bond for failing to appear in court, denying his attorney Thom Goolsby's request for an unsecured bond.  The commissioner is expected to be in court Tuesday to continue this case.  Deputies took him to jail Friday morning.

Assistant District Attorney Lillian Salcines requested Berger undergo a mental evaluation, which has to be completed within a week.

Commissioner Jonathan Barfield was also in the courtroom for Berger's case Friday.  He said he was frustrated with the whole situation and that Berger hasn't done his duties as a commissioner for some time.

"At this point he has to take responsibility for his own actions," said Barfield.  "There are consequences that come with your actions and there are good consequences and bad consequences, but we all have to be responsible."

Commissioners in New Hanover County made a public announcement in September encouraging Berger to resign from his position.  Berger said he would not step down, despite their request.

"I think the message was sent a long time ago when the board of commissioners asked Mr. Berger to resign," said Barfield.  "I think the message was sent there and the emails we get as commissioners reinforces that."

Berger was arrested at that time for violating a personal protection order after he attended a community action meeting that his ex-girlfriend, Heather Blaylock, works for.

The commissioner's ex-girlfriend filed the protection order in September, a week after she told police Berger was trying to hurt himself.

Berger was also facing other charges regarding Blaylock, including assault on a female and injury to personal property.  According to Goolsby, he received a prayer for judgement for the injury to personal property charge and the assault charge was dropped.

The commissioner was arrested in June by Wilmington Police officers after he ripped a car door handle off Blaylock's car.

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